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Radio Sandwell News

US author John Grisham questions child porn jail terms

2014-10-16 11:24:11

John Grisham
Mr Grisham said a "good buddy" of his had been jailed for three years for looking at child pornography

Author John Grisham has criticised the US justice system for handing down "harsh" prison sentences to those viewing indecent images of children.

The American said some of those jailed had probably had too much to drink and should have faced lesser punishments.

Mr Grisham told UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph that judges in the US had, as he put it, gone crazy on incarceration.

But the 59-year-old writer insisted he had no sympathy for "real paedophiles", saying they should be locked up.

He used the interview to launch a wide-ranging attack on America's judicial system for sending "too many people" to prison.

The US has the world's largest prison population, with about 2.2 million adults behind bars.

In 2012, close to 25% of the world's prisoners were held in American prisons despite the US accounting for just 5% of the world's population.

Mr Grisham, who has sold more than 275 million books during a 25-year career, focused his anger on the length of imprisonment imposed on offenders who download images of children being sexually abused.

He said a "good buddy" of his had been imprisoned for three years for viewing child pornography on a website labelled "sixteen-year-old wannabe hookers" when his drinking was out of control.

"We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child," he told the Telegraph.

"But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn."

US judges had "gone crazy" during the last 30 years, he added.

"I have no sympathy for real paedophiles. God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that's what they're getting."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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